On the Spectrum of Possible Deaths by Lucia Perillo

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"Perillo's poetic persona is funny, tough, bold, smart, and righteous. A spellbinding storyteller and a poet who makes the demands of the form seem as natural as a handshake, she pulls readers into the beat and whirl of her slyly devastating descriptions."—Booklist

"Whoever told you poetry isn't for everyone hasn't read Lucia Perillo. She writes accessible, often funny poems that border on the profane."—Time Out New York

The poetry of Lucia Perillo is fierce, tragicomic, and contrarian, with subjects ranging from coyotes and Scotch broom to local elections and family history. Formally braided, Perillo gathers strands of the mythic and mundane, of media and daily life, as she faces the treachery of illness and draws readers into poems rich in image and story.

When you spend many hours alone in a room
you have more than the usual chances to disgust yourself—
this is the problem of the body, not that it is mortal
but that it is mortifying. When we were young they taught us
do not touch it, but who can keep from touching it,
from scratching off the juicy scab? Today I bit
a thick hangnail and thought of Schneebaum,
who walked four days into the jungle
and stayed for the kindness of the tribe—
who would have thought that cannibals would be so tender?

Lucia Perillo's Inseminating the Elephant (Copper Canyon Press, 2009) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and received the Bobbitt award from the Library of Congress. She lives in Seattle, Washington.


About Lucia Perillo

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Lucia Perillo is the author of five books of poetry, one of which, Inseminating the Elephant, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She was also awarded a MacArthur genius grant. She lives in Olympia, Washington.
Published November 6, 2012 by Copper Canyon Press. 96 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for On the Spectrum of Possible Deaths

The New York Times

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Lucia Perillo’s two collections, poems and stories, draw upon her experiences in a world that often hurts her.

May 18 2012 | Read Full Review of On the Spectrum of Possible D...

Publishers Weekly

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She muses, in one grimly amusing poem, on “those who have drifted through thus far of their allotted/ fifty or seventy or ninety years on Earth/ with no disasters happening,” using poetry as a way to “meditate against my envy/ aimed at those who drift inside the bubble of no trouble.” But...

Mar 26 2012 | Read Full Review of On the Spectrum of Possible D...

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